Texas Rangers: How Does Jordan Lyles Fit into the Starting Rotation?

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 19: Jordan Lyles #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park on September 19, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 19: Jordan Lyles #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park on September 19, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers added their second starting pitcher of the offseason signing RHP Jordan Lyles to a two-year deal per reports.

Per reports, the Texas Rangers have agreed a two-year, $16 million contract with free agent pitcher Jordan Lyles. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the agreement via Twitter late Friday night with Jeff Passan of ESPN first identifying the terms of the contract.

Lyles is now the second starter the Rangers have signed this offseason having announced the three-year deal with RHP Kyle Gibson earlier on Friday. Lyles, 29, is coming off a 2019 season which he split with the Pirates and Brewers making 28 combined starts. Last season he posted a 4.15 ERA with a 4.64 FIP and a 9.32 K/9 rate. His 2019 stats though require a little more interpretation than that as he was far better during the second half of the season after joining the Brewers. It’s reasonable to assume that he benefitted from throwing to Yasmani Grandal who is one of the best pitch-receiving catchers in the big leagues and got some solid defensive work behind him. In his time with the Brewers, Lyles ERA was just 2.45 and his BABIP dropped to just .225 while his season number was closer to a .280 BABIP.

The Rangers are no doubt betting that they can get closer to Lyles’ second half production that first half. There’s also a hope in Texas that Lyles’ second half was a prediction of where he’s headed as it was a sizable deviation from his career 5.11 ERA.

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What this comes down to though is starting pitching insurance and betting while you’re hot. The Rangers had massive success revitalizing the careers of Mike Minor and Lance Lynn the past two offseason and are looking to do the same with earlier signing Kyle Gibson and now Jordan Lyles. The Rangers rotation last season beyond Lynn and Minor was abysmal to say the least. A constant rotation of young guys and over-the-hill vets meant game to game you never knew what performance you would be getting. Texas is looking to rectify that by signing mid-level starters rather than one big name free agent.

Heading into 2020, as the rotation looks now, Lyles likely opens the season as the Rangers number four starter behind Minor, Lynn and Gibson. If he produces on a plane similar to 2019, that’s decent production out of your number four and if he leans more towards his second half performances, Texas walks away with a bargain. While Lyles isn’t the flashy name a lot of fans would like to see join the rotation like Cole, Strasburg or Wheeler, his addition, plus Gibson, means the rotation is far better heading into next season than it was in 2019 which in the end, was the Rangers main pitching priority.

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